Wednesday, August 6, 2014
IWSG: August, 2014.
The IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and it's purpose is to give writers a place to vent their insecurities as well as comfort fellow writers in their own. This month's co-hosts are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom. Thanks guys and gals!
Usually when I sit down to write my IWSG post, just after I remember it's the first Wednesday of the month, I sit here staring at a blank screen for a good while.
Not this month, no siree.
This idea came to me just after writing last month's post and it revolves not around the practice of writing as much as what I'm writing.
When I first did National Novel Writing Month, I was really jazzed. I was going to write my novel and take a huge step towards being a "real" writer. I flew by the seat of my pants, determined to finish and "win" (which I did) with my over 50k word count. When I was done, I was really proud of myself. Seriously. I don't do much in the way of patting myself on the back, but in this I did. I proudly told my wife I had finished and, I think, she was just as proud of me as I was.
Then it happened.
We were down at her brother's house and she proudly told him and his wife that I had written a novel.
He seemed genuinely impressed (Mike's a great guy, very laid back and supportive) and then asked me THE question.
"What's it about?"
Right then, it all collapsed in on me. Not that I hadn't really expected this question....I did...I just didn't expect my own reaction to it.
Growing up reading comic books and being interested in sci-fi/fantasy had ingrained in me a certain reaction by others (mainly my parents and extended family) when I told them of my hobbies. You may know what I mean. That eye rolling, smirking, "Oh, that...." response that "normal" people give when they ask what sorts of things you were into. Because, if it's not related to sports or watching sports on t.v. or going to sporting events, it really doesn't "count" and isn't, really, socially acceptable.
Not that I wasn't used to this sort of response, by all sorts of people, growing up but I hadn't even prepared for it coming up in relation to my new novel. The novel that I was so proud to have done...even though it wasn't quite 'finished', it was still a good start. Right?
That pride turned into quasi-embarrassment.
Here I was...in my mid 40s...and I had been reduced to my childhood, trying to "explain" my interests.
"Well, it's about this.....ummm....robot who...ummm....er....travels back to the 1940s and....uhhhhh....it's called....uhhh....The T.E.M.P Agency....and...."
I felt myself becoming more than a bit embarrassed in telling him what my book was about. That insecurity grabbed me around the throat and really throttled me. What was I doing? I was proud of this thing, doggone it!
Of course, my brother-in-law seemed genuinely interested....which helped...but I couldn't believe that, in all the month I spent writing about a time traveling robot who gets stuck in the 1940s, I'd be gun shy telling others the characters and background I had created.
What did I think was going to happen should it ever be published and strangers were, actually, reading it? To this day, I'm still a little surprised how out of left field it all came.
On the bright side, I've gotten over that little hurdle and feel proud to say that "I'm a writer"....regardless of what I'm writing. I've even taken the true test....telling my parents.
They loved the idea, by the way.
Moral of the story: Write it loud and write it proud!
One insecurity down....about a million more to go! :)